While many college juniors spent last summer working various odd jobs in retail or customer service, Tyreese Robinson was project managing the implementation of a new software system at Graco Inc, a long-time AchieveMpls partner and an employer for the Achieve College Internships program.
This new program connects college juniors with high-quality paid summer internships, mentors and professional networks that can help launch their careers in the Twin Cities. It also helps employers strengthen their recruitment and retention of talented students who are often underrepresented in college internship programs.
Tyreese, a computer science major at St. John’s University, heard about the pilot program early in the school year. As a recipient of the Minneapolis Private College Fund’s Eddie Phillips Scholarship for African-American Men, Tyreese was required to complete a professional internship before graduation. He applied for the program, received professional skills training and was hired by Graco to onboard, coordinate and ultimately, launch new software to be used company-wide.
“As someone who is moving towards software engineering, the project management skills that I gained at Graco are really going to help me in my career,” says Tyreese. “Half of developing a new product is launching the product, which I got to do at Graco, along with establishing a timeline and managing all the steps in between."
Unfortunately, the disruption caused by COVID-19 meant that Tyreese had to fulfill his internship remotely. But he says he still gained key professional skills and was able to connect and build relationships with his colleagues.
“I really had an amazing time,” he says. “Graco knows how to have fun AND get stuff done. I’m sure not all businesses are like that! I’m glad I was able to have that kind of experience in a work environment.”
Now a college senior, Tyreese is looking forward to graduating in the spring. And while he’s bummed about missing the opportunity he had secured, pre-COVID, to study abroad in France this semester, he’s keeping his eye on the prize and hopes to secure a job before graduation.